BWW Review: A VERY KRANSKY CHRISTMAS at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre

BWW Review: A VERY KRANSKY CHRISTMAS at Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival CentreReviewed by Ewart Shaw, Friday 15th December 2017.

A Very Kransky Christmas is the one you've always wanted to have, but have never been brave enough to attempt and, let's face it, your home life probably never gave rise to the sort of colourful anecdotes that studded the show like prunes in the Christmas cake. The Adelaide audience of Kransky fans was laughing its collective head off right from the start, watching the documentary footage of their trip from their home in Esk in Queensland to Adelaide, via the port of Amsterdam, the big koala, the big merino, and the big potato.

The three of them then slouched on stage, dressed in their familiar long black skirts, white blouses, red bows and long black hair. Mourne, Eve, and Dawn are three sisters, although to be accurate they are two and a half as Dawn, the tuba-playing one, was fathered on their mother by their father's brother, with whom she later eloped. That's only one of the little insights into their life in Esk that they share with the audience as the show progresses. Their life of make do and mend, in a crumbling house, with a backyard 'thunderbox', will make you grateful for indoor plumbing and other mod. cons. Truly, as Shakespeare said, "sweet are the uses of adversity which like the toad, ugly and venomous, bears yet a precious jewel in his head". They are straight-laced and straight-faced, excellent musicians, in the tradition of Hinge and Bracket of blessed memory, and Dame Edna Everage. I mentioned this to my companion who asked which one was in drag. I'm certain that they are all biologically female. They are weird, they are surreal.

Mourne does most of the talking, with back up from Eve on portable organ, tambourine and other noise making things. Dawn, the half, has the tuba, which she plays with such skill that I suggested to her after the show she consider the Vaughan Williams tuba concerto, followed by The Flight of the Bumble Bee.

Structurally, the show is built on reminiscences of their childhood, their life in Esk, their adventures on the road, each tale leading to another offbeat, sometimes minor key, performance of popular songs, as you've never heard them before. The story of the Christmas when the lecturer from the TAFE College ate the piece of pudding with the coin in, and was then force-fed a curry to expedite its recovery, led to a swinging version of 'Ring of Fire'. While I lost track of popular music in the 1970's I did pick up the Gangnam style quote and the line from Frozen but the music poured off the stage with such variety, that laughter erupted throughout the auditorium in an almost constant counterpoint to the fun on stage.

They invited audience participation in sing-alongs, and then prowled the auditorium selecting two men, Phil and Les, to join them on stage, where, decked out in Kransky drag, they joined in with tambourine swinging frenzy. The poignancy of the moment of farewell as the two men attempted to leave the stage was heartbreaking. The audience in an unaccustomed display of insensitivity laughed like drains. Heartless brutes. Have you never been beaten up in the Meat Ant Park Augathella by the girlfriend of the man you love?

Towards the end, Mourne offered up a Christmas prayer that all of us odd socks would meet again in the great spin dryer, and I'd happily tumble around with the Kranskys. I even bought one of their tea towels, now autographed, and a fridge magnet.

Esk is justly proud of the sisterhood of the travelling genes, the three Kransky sisters, and mentions them on its website, as it should.

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From This Author Barry Lenny

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